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What to know about trail etiquette on the American River Parkway

From bikers to equestrians, the American River Parkway is a place where many come to exercise and enjoy nature.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The American River Parkway is an escape for runners, bikers and even dogs, but the rules of the trail can be confusing for some.

Dianna Poggetto, the executive director of the American River Parkway Foundation, says trail users have to work together on the parkway to stay safe.

"You’ve got cyclists, you’ve got runners, you’ve got equestrians, you have walkers... so you have many users that have to all work together," said Poggetto. "Look, this is a park. The bottom line is that everyone should have fun out here, and to appreciate it. The last thing anyone wants is to be injured on the parkway."

It all comes down to respect. Biker Andy Latorre says he's had a couple of close calls.

"Of course, people walking in front of you or really fast bike riders cutting you off too close and you have to hit the brakes or swerve," said Lattore.

If you're walking or running on the bicycle trail, always stay on the left side so you can see the bicyclists coming. Walk or run on the dirt shoulders if you are able to. Equestrians have the right-of-way on horse trails. 

"If you're walking toward us, we can see you and you can see us. If your back is to us, you decide to run across the trail, we’ll run you over. It’s just a safety thing," said Lattore.

Bikers are asked to yield to walkers and runners and respect the 15 mph speed limit. Bikers also aren't allowed on equestrian trails.

Biker Howard Spivak has biked at The Parkway for years and says weekends are extra crowded.

"People are often in the wrong place and they don't mind the rules of etiquette, especially with little children and dogs that they allow them to run all over the place," said Spivak. 

Dogs need to be on leashes six-feet in length or less, and pet owners are required to clean up after pets. There are 18 poop bag stations along the parkway available for pet owners.

Twenty-three miles of the American River Parkway are under county jurisdiction from the confluence of the American and Sacramento Rivers all the way to Hazel Avenue.

Once you cross over Hazel Avenue, it becomes state land. The county-owned portion spans 4,800 acres and sees eight million visitors each year.

For more information about the American River Parkway, head to the ARPF website or the Sacramento County Regional Parks website. 

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